Verein Berliner Künstler / Berlin Artist Association

Haus der Künstler – more than a gallery

The Verein Berliner Künstler VBK is a self-governing association of professionally active artists.
It has been committed to Berlin art and artists for more than 175 years.

The basis for the creative development of the association's activities is the active participation
of the individual members and their agreement to work together in a professional and collegial manner,
to lead discursive and fair discussions as well as to participate in socially relevant discourses.

The Haus am Schöneberger Ufer is the heart of the association and center of activities. Here, the gallery space not only offers independent and diverse exhibition possibilities, but within the scope of the Arts Club Berlin an open, discursive forum with guest lectures for members and art lovers.

The VBK promotes and supports its members in their professional work and artistic projects as well as in the development of cooperations with national and international artist associations and art institutions and their realization within the context of the VBK.

The association receives no institutional funding. The members of the VBK work voluntarily. Exhibition concepts and project work are developed essentially independently of market or trend orientation.

The resulting freedom the gallery enjoys enables the VBK to develop creative experimental forms of  presentation.

The VBK is independent of parties.

Its own extensive artistic archive and the documentary archive outsourced to the Akademie der Künste Berlin document the history and work of the VBK since the founding of the association in 1841 until today.

The organization of artists under the umbrella of the VBK promotes their professional and collegial collaboration. Its activities continuously prove the future viability and relevance of the VBK within the Berlin cultural landscape.

The VBK is a long-term project.

The Verein Berliner Künstler is the oldest active artist association in Germany and Europe.

Since its founding, over a course of 175 years about 1500 artists have shaped and further developed the Verein Berliner Künstler. Artists have been reflecting upon their production conditions, artistic positions and opportunities for self-marketing, all this while navigating the changing political and cultural-political conditions, the laws of the art market and the current development of new media.

According to present-day understanding, every artist is first and foremost a producer and manager of their own. Beyond this, artists in the VBK work together to develop artistic concepts and programs and contribute to the public image within the community. Representing an association of self-organized professional artists, the VBK epitomizes an institution which acts as a forum, impulse generator and contributor to Berlin's cultural life while transforming focal points over the course of time.

The VBK is a multi-generation project. 

There is no age requirement for membership in the VBK, the membership structure shows the vast majority of artists between the ages of 35 and 60 years. Few artists decide to apply immediately after graduation, whereas there is no need to leave the VBK for reasons of age. There are currently 120 artists in the VBK whose cultural roots lie in Berlin, in other regions of Germany as well as in international cultural contexts, whose life and work priorities, however, are to be located in the city of Berlin. Half the membership structure today consists of artists.

The VBK carries out gallery and cultural work and public relations. The VBK is located within an urban context on the Schoeneberger Ufer in Berlin Tiergarten-Mitte  near Potsdamer Strasse, thus directly positioned between the museum's high culture such as Neue Nationalgalerie, Kulturforum, Staatsbibliothek, and a quarter with a very lively developing contemporary art gallery landscape including project spaces.

The Galerie Verein Berliner Künstler stages eight to ten conceptual and thematical exhibitions each year of members as well as guests from Germany and abroad. The gallery also provides the spatial framework for communication and events, for lectures and discourse with the public. Current social, political and cultural issues make their way into topics and concepts of the exhibitions and projects. These address regional, supra-regional and global political and socio-cultural concerns - questions of the positioning of artists in times of technical and digital developments as well as the responsibility, role and location of the artist in our society. The VBK is the place where these reflections are developed and / or presented.

Since 2006 cooperation and exchange projects with primarily European artist associations and cultural institutions have been developed and realized with the aim of getting to know the living and working conditions of fellow artists in other European countries and, at the same time, building artist networks. Also, cooperations beyond the scope of Europe were carried out with South Korea (Yang Pyeon), USA (Miami), Israel (Haifa) and Azerbaijan (Baku). Since 2012, 45 events have been reflected on and discussed in the ARTS CLUB BERLIN (ACB), a project of the VBK, on current developments, concepts and forms of practice of contemporary artistic discourse. With the invitation of the VBK, teams of curators, artists and academics organize the discourse program in the ACB / public discourse, which defines its conceptual direction within an international orientation and simultaneous perspective on the local context in Berlin.

What is artistic practice today? What are the contexts? Which pressing topics and living conditions effect the artists and are implemented in their works?

Questions such as these aspire public lectures and discussions with international artists, curators and representatives of non-artistic fields to contextualize contemporary concepts of artistic practice within political, social and economic environments.

The ACB / open club enables short-term, temporary presentation and reflection of different forms of artistic practice and its production conditions.